Attaining Lasting Change (ATLAS)
The ATLAS project seeks to build the capacity of governments to more effectively combat child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking by helping them strengthen their laws and regulations, improve their capacity to enforce them, and strengthen coordination between law enforcement and social protection entities.
Child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking are abusive labor practices that provide an unfair advantage to countries and their producers that fail to comply with their trade-related labor commitments and/or internationally recognized labor standards. These abusive labor practices could harm workers and businesses in the United States as they are competing with products made by children and/or workers in forced labor, including as a result of human trafficking. Gaps in countries’ labor and criminal legal frameworks, weak enforcement of labor and criminal laws, and a lack of coordination among law enforcement and social protection entities create vulnerabilities leading to labor exploitation of children and adults.
The ATLAS project works to increase the capacity of governments in Thailand, Paraguay, Liberia, Argentina, and Bolivia to reduce child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking by helping them to:
- strengthen labor and/or criminal legal frameworks concerning child labor, forced labor, and/or human trafficking;
- improve enforcement of labor and/or criminal legal frameworks, specifically related to child labor, forced labor, and/or human trafficking; and
- increase coordination among law enforcement and social protection entities to address child labor, forced labor, and/or human trafficking.
This work involves identifying roles and responsibilities of government and other relevant stakeholders; mapping existing social protection programs and coordination systems, processes, and activities; assessing gaps and weaknesses in existing coordination within and among law enforcement and social protection entities; and establishing or improving the existing coordination framework.
- The ATLAS project conducted global research, producing a Body of Knowledge that analyzed evidence on the effectiveness of programs, initiatives, and practices to address child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking, with a focus on enforcement in labor and criminal systems. The project also prepared country-specific pre-situational analysis reports and then worked with both government and non-governmental actors in each project country, utilizing the findings from the Body of Knowledge, to select how best to address the enforcement and/or coordination challenges identified in the country’s pre-situational analysis report.
- The project has successfully trained more than 220 local law enforcement officials in Thailand and Paraguay through its Enforcement Training Program, which educates labor inspectors, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other government and civil society workers on enforcing labor laws and investigating and prosecuting labor and trafficking crimes.
- The ATLAS project participated in consultations held by the Liberian Ministry of Labor to propose draft language to update Liberia’s 2005 Anti-Human Trafficking Law. The draft law was passed by the Liberian Congress in September 2021, and it is now awaiting the President’s signature.